Dr. Dorothy J. Gish Women in Leadership Award
What is the Dorothy J. Gish Women in Leadership Award?
It is a monetary award given to full-time female students at Messiah College who aspire to develop their gifts and advance in leadership roles. In addition to receiving funding for their efforts, recipients will be recognized at the Honors and Awards chapel held at the end of each semester.
The History of the Award
This award is named in honor of Dr. Dorothy Gish, Academic Dean Emeritus and former Professor of Early Childhood and Family Education at Messiah College. During her years of service at Messiah College, Dr. Gish was a critical role model and inspiration for women across campus who aspired to use their gifts to advance in leadership roles. In recognition of Dr. Gish’s trail-blazing efforts, faculty and other friends established an endowment in her honor. The interest from this endowment is used to support worthy leadership opportunities for full-time women students at Messiah College.
- Be a full-time, female Messiah College student
- Have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0
- Be a continuing student at Messiah College who is willing to share her experience publicly with the Messiah Community (e.g. dorm floor discussions, alternate chapel, creative display)
- Submit a typed proposal delineating a leadership development activity and all information requested on the application form by the designated due date
A five-person review committee scores all proposals that are received by the stated deadline and determines which proposal(s) will be awarded. All applicants will receive a letter from the committee stating the committee’s decision regarding her proposal.
All application materials should be submitted electronically and via hard copy by the deadline as directed on the application. Click here for the application. You may also request an application by emailing Deborah Chopka with your request.
Proposals for this award are accepted once each semester and are typically due late September and late March. See the application for the specific deadline.
Maximum Potential Funding
The maximum potential funding for each individual proposal is $400.00.
Definition of “Leadership Development Activity”
The definition of a “Leadership Development Activity” is limited only by your personal gifts, skills, talents, abilities, passions, creativity, opportunities, and ability to articulate the leadership value in your proposed activity. Young ladies have proposed a variety of leadership activities and each has been given careful consideration by the review committee. Some of the activities that have been awarded in the past are categorized below.
- Conference Attendance: National Council on Family Relations (NCFR); Wesleyan/Holiness Women Clergy; Worship and the Arts; Model UN; Dramatic Problem Solving; Art Therapy; Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization (ECHO); Women’s Leadership Symposium; PA Family & Consumer Sciences, Association for Gerontology in Higher Education; and Mediation and Conflict Resolution Training Workshop
- Study Programs: Oregon Extension Program; International Peace & Conflict Resolution Program; and Los Angeles Internship Program
- Individual Projects: West Africa Pump Project; Honors Project in Guatemala relative to Sustainable Community Development; Developing a Leadership Seminar for first-year Pre-Education majors; Study of Monks in Thailand (senior thesis); Field Research in Uganda (senior thesis); Creating a Children’s Book about Messiah College through a Child’s Eyes; National Trumpet Competition; and Visiting Seminaries for United Methodist Church Ordination
- Student Leader Opportunities: Coordinator of Ukraine Missions Trip; Young Life Camp Counselor; Senior Staff Member at White Sulphur Springs Christian Camp; and Student Leader of Education Site Team in Bukina Faso, West Africa
Kerri Hamm: Elementary Education with Global Ministries minor
Melissa Deibler: Dual Certification in Elementary & Early Childhood Education
- Melissa and Kerri will create, produce and publish a children’s book about a visit to Messiah College through a child’s eyes.
- Melissa and Kerri realize that learning to read visual image is essential in a young child’s development. Melissa and Kerri will construct a book with photographs of the Messiah College community as the media for illustration, supported by text through a child’s perspective.
- The book will be published in conjunction with Messiah College’s Centennial Celebration in 2010, and debuted with an inaugural reading by President Phipps, additional “milk and cookies” readings with local children and read-aloud sessions within the Messiah College community during the Centennial Celebration.
Kristen Wilt, Junior
Mathematics with a secondary certification
- Kristen is traveling to Burkina Faso, West Africa in January 2008 as a student leader of an Education site team.
- Kristen and her group, through observation of children in various urban and village schools and discussion with the children's teachers, will determine how her group at Messiah College can best help teach children with disabilities.
- Following her return Kristen and her group plan to share their experiences and findings in an alternate chapel. Kristen will also write an essay about her findings, to be included in the new course packet for Math 195: First Year Math Seminar.
Tabita Vacareanu, Junior
Human Development and Family Science Major & Spanish Minor
| Tabita attended the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education conference at Baltimore Inner Harbor February 21 and 22, 2008. At this conference she was able to take part in a variety of keynote addresses by major scholars. In addition, she participated in a luncheon organized especially for students (graduates and undergraduates) with interests in gerontology. She noted that “I have learned that conferences are a great resource for graduate schools and job opportunities in the field.”
Sharon Campbell, Senior
Communication/Film Production Emphasis
| Sharon enrolled in the Los Angeles Internship Program to experience job skills, city living, and specific connections in Los Angeles. She envisions this opportunity as a change to start her professional career in the film industry. Her future goals include becoming a producer, director, and/or writer in the film industry.
For a list of all of the past recipients, click here.
After participating in their event, the recipients are asked to write a brief reflection paper on their experience which was made possible by the funding provided by this award. What follows are quotations from those papers.
- “Many thanks for enabling me to attend this conference. Reverberations of life-lessons are arriving each day to me, and my focus and passion for people and their land is growing continually stronger.” – Amanda McMillian, Recipient Fall 2006
- “I came away [from the conference] with an affirmation to my calling in life to be involved with college athletics. … I will not let anything hold me back or prevent me from pursuing God’s kingdom through sports to touch the lives of college athletes.” – Jennifer Myhre, Recipient Spring 2007
- “God challenged me and changed me in ways I never dreamed of. He closed doors I thought would forever be open and opened others I believed to be closed for life. … My thoughts are constantly drawn to the people and places I left behind. Only this time, I know I will be back. Over and over again, I say, ‘wait, my Pearl of Africa, wait beloved Uganda, for I shall return.’” – Brittany Brendsel, Recipient Spring 2007
For more information, please contact Deborah Chopka.